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Policing in the United States has been rooted in slavery, brutality, and injustice since its origin in slave patrols. In the layered systems of oppression that we live under (colonization, white supremacy, patriarchy, and other class oppressions), the police are tasked with enforcing illegitimate hierarchies and unjust laws on behalf of the ruling class. For as long as there have been police, there has also been organized struggle and resistance against them. The abolitionist movement, also finding its origin in early U.S. slavery, has been an ongoing movement against the system of policing, especially strong and active during the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, and experiencing a significant revival  since the 2020 uprising in response to the murder of George Floyd.

Policing behind the Redwood Curtain has never been an exception to the nationwide system of policing, enforcing the same oppressive hierarchies with the same level of brutality, and enjoying the same lack of consequences for their extra-judicial beatings and slayings of our community members. While many local people who do not belong to vulnerable communities have been blind to the reality of the police terror that exists here, it has become impossible to deny in recent weeks with the exposure of the racist, misogynistic, anti-homeless, downright frightening text messages sent between officers of the Eureka Police Department. While the content of the messages were disturbing and disgusting enough to prompt calls for the firing of the officers involved, they are thoroughly unsurprising to those who belong to populations that experience routine harassment from the police. For those who have been experiencing, or paying attention, to the routine abuse doled out by police, there is a measure of frustration at seeing the shocked reactions to these text messages from the broader population, while so many abusive actions taken by our local police seem to be met with apathy, if they are noticed at all. We suspect that this may be due, at least in part, to the sparse reporting done by local news media when it comes to police abuses, while the same media outlets heavily report and sensationalize illegal activity, along with any little good deed that law enforcement manages. It is almost as if much of the local news media acts as law enforcement’s PR department, which is perhaps the reason that the text messages were initially shared with a media outlet from out of the area.

Redwood Curtain Copwatch, beginning in approximately 2005, kept a record of individuals who were murdered by law enforcement behind the Redwood Curtain. The following is a (perhaps incomplete) list of those lives lost to local police violence that we have compiled to the best of our ability, with the help of the Redwood Curtain Copwatch website (active from approximately 2005 to 2019) and what we could find from other local media outlets since 2019:

John Sieger 
Angel Farias Hernandez   Daniel Sylvester  
David Sequioa   Eloy Infante-Toscano
Gabriel Muldenado
David Cleveland James “Hans” Peters    Jonni Honda  Mariano Lopez Fernandez
Robert Garth
Martin Cotton
Peter Stewart
Zachary Cooke
Christopher Burgess
Tommy McClain
Cheri Lynn Moore
Richard Frederick Estrada
Tina Reed 
John Lewis
David Fulton
John Lewis
James Randall
Dwight Hostler
Raymond Eacret
Mark Nelson
Jacob Newmaker
And through gross neglect, David Josiah Lawson.

Again, this list only includes those lives lost since approximately 2005. Since Redwood Curtain Copwatch disbanded, Humboldt Grassroots has attempted to fulfill the task of record keeping when it comes to those lost to police violence, though it is impossible to say how many have been killed by police more passively, like the houseless who die of exposure after having their survival gear confiscated by police, which is an occurrence you can hear about any day of the week from folks living outdoors. We have been organizing  in resistance to the police since 2007, alongside others, and we are grateful to see more groups come together to take on this important work locally within the past year, like READ (Radical Education and Abolition Development), Humboldt Defund, and Abolish Humboldt, along with a heartening number of unaffiliated individuals.

The problems with policing run deep and there are no simple solutions. We know that the system of policing is not broken; it is functioning in precisely the way it was intended to from the beginning, and no amount of reform will fix a system that is rotten to its core. As the unjust nature of policing has revealed itself again and again, it is clearly time for us all to get to work in finding better ways of dealing with our societal ills, to achieve real justice.

For more on resistance and justice work being done locally, stay tuned for an upcoming expanded article and updates here. If you have anything you would like to share with us about local law enforcement, local resistance, or if you would like to learn more about our work in the community, you can message us on the Humboldt Grassroots Facebook or Instagram, or email us at humboldtgrassroots at riseup dot net or at humboldtgrassroots at gmail.

This film presents themes of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement , from the civil rights voices of the 60s to the current international uprising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

February 22nd from 12pm to 6pm in room #2 at the labor temple 840 E street in Eureka

An interactive exploration of freedom. Join in on a discussion about the concept of freedom and the conditions necessary to achieve it, explored from material, philosophical, psychological, and spiritual perspectives. There will be opportunities for self-reflection and journaling, one-on-one and small group conversation, and whole group sharing.

The hope is that this exercise will help stoke the flame of longing for freedom and motivate the pursuit of it.

We introduced this workshop at the 10th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair and found that an hour was barely enough time to get started. So we decided to make a day of it! This technically the 3rd workshop in the series but you definitely don’t have to have been at the previous ones to participate in this one.

The last couple have been chock full of philosophy. This time we hope to get more into economic and political systems and how they relate to freedom.

We suggest you bring snacks and a drinking container. We could even make it a potluck if y’all post what you’re bringing in the comments. A notebook and writing implement are also a good idea.

Join in on a discussion about the concept of freedom and the conditions necessary to achieve it, explored from material, philosophical, psychological, and spiritual perspectives. There will be opportunities for self-reflection and journaling, one-on-one and small group conversation, and whole group sharing.

The hope is that this exercise will help stoke the flame of longing for freedom and motivate the pursuit of it.

We suggest you bring snacks and a drinking container. We could even make it a potluck if y’all post what you’re bringing in the comments. A notebook and writing implement are also a good idea.

Join in on a discussion about the concept of freedom and the conditions necessary to achieve it, explored from material, philosophical, psychological, and spiritual perspectives. There will be opportunities for self-reflection and journaling, one-on-one and small group conversation, and whole group sharing.

The hope is that this exercise will help stoke the flame of longing for freedom and motivate the pursuit of it.

We suggest you bring snacks and a drinking container. We could even make it a potluck if y’all post what you’re bringing in the comments. A notebook and writing implement are also a good idea.

The machinations of the military-industrial complex and ruling classes are at it once more.

The egregious assassination of Iranian Qassem Soleimani does nothing to guarantee the security or liberty of people abroad or here in the United States. Unless we react and take action, working class people will bear the cost of these atrocious acts as Trump furthers the economic and political machinations of the military-industrial complex and authoritarian ruling classes.

This unconscionable act of aggression is no different than the war waged on the working class. Since September 2001 we spent well over $1 trillion on the perpetual “War On Terror;” in effect bombing the shit out of brown people overseas for purposes of racism, profit, and distraction. The only ones to benefit from these wars are those who create/furnish weapons and war materials, and the authoritarian classes who further conglomerate their power.

For us, the working class, it is a distraction from the gross re-appropriation of our resources. The squandered resources on these wars have done nothing to secure our safety locally as basic needs continue to go unmet: undrinkable water in Flint, Michigan or various California Central Valley communities; urban and rural food deserts; or mental/health care inaccessibility.

It is our responsibility to seize the resources necessary to correct and improve our domestic deficiencies. It is our duty to seize and control the resources necessary to discontinue and end these intolerable acts of military aggression.

Any war in which we are the aggressor is unjust; and, any working class person ought to be against such actions.

We stand against the war with Iran and the War on Terror.